COP 6 Philippine Decision PDF Print E-mail


In preparation for the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP6), parties belonging to the Asia-Pacific group met from March 18-20, 2002 in Bangkok, Thailand to set out common positions. The Philippines was represented in said meeting by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The interventions made by the Philippine representative in said meeting included calling for the need to integrate issues on capacity-building, poverty alleviation, the role of women, and globalization in the discussions on forest biodiversity and sustainable development, emphasizing fairer and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of and access to genetic resources, and raising the need for a timeframe on guidelines on sustainable tourism.

During the COP6 held in The Hague, Netherlands from April 7-9, 2002, the Philippines came out with a statement on Article 8 (j) of the Convention on indigenous peoples. The Philippine delegation articulated that certain issues critical to the strengthening of the role of indigenous peoples in conserving biological diversity should be taken up as a priority and considered in the proposed Decision of the COP with an elaboration on a specific timetable and action plan. Said timetable and action plan should include fundamental and outstanding issues such as 1) self-determination; 2) ownership, control and management of ancestral lands, waters, territories and resources; 3) the exercise of customary laws; 4) self-representation through the indigenous peoples’ own institutions; 5) free prior informed consent on any outside activity that will impact on their domain; and 6) full control of access to traditional knowledge and resources.

Other relevant issues of concern raised by the Philippine delegation on the matter of indigenous peoples are 1) the inapplicability of existing intellectual property rights system for the protection of traditional knowledge; 2) indigenous peoples’ control and management of registries or databases of traditional knowledge; 3) the lack of accountability of western regimes on the protection of knowledge; 4) the participation of women in the management and control of their traditional knowledge as it relates to biodiversity and sustainable development; and 5) the recognition of the link between access and benefit-sharing and traditional knowledge.

Thus, the Philippine delegation pointed out that even as there is still further work on the development of guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments, the COP should encourage parties to the Convention to adopt or incorporate these guidelines in their national laws as a single process while taking into account its implications on discussions related to the access of biological and genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from their use.

The Philippine delegation also saw the need to highlight the experience of Southeast Asian communities in adopting the so-called community protocol approach which utilizes the customary laws of indigenous communities to maximize their participation in discussions related to access to and benefit-sharing of traditional knowledge and biological and genetic resources. It urged the Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8 (j) to document the experiences of communities in adopting community protocols in protecting their rights over genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Necessarily therefore, the parties to the convention should take into account the existing approaches and methodologies of local and indigenous communities in the development and maintenance of registries and databases of traditional knowledge at the national and regional levels. These registries and databases must be seriously considered in the development of sui generis systems. To attain this end, the parties should prioritize capacity-building of indigenous and local communities for the protection of their traditional knowledge systems.